- What do I need to know about the UK Business Visitor Visa?
- What can I do in the UK with a Business Visitor Visa?
- Can I extend the Business Visitor Visa?
- Can I visit the UK regularly for short periods?
- Required documents for UK Business Visitor Visa
- What is the processing time for a Business Visitor Visa?
- Frequently asked questions
What is the UK Business Visitor Visa?
The UK Business Visitor Visa is designed for South Africans and anyone who wishes to enter the United Kingdom for a short period of time for business purposes. Typically, you can stay in the UK for up to six months with the Business Visitor Visa.
The Business Visitor Visa was originally its own visa, but it now falls under the Standard Visitor Visa category.
This visa enables you to perform specific business-related activities in the UK. This is also the immigration route to go down if you want to undertake academic work in the UK.
What do South Africans Need to Know About the UK Business Visitor Visa?
As a South African, it is important to establish whether you are eligible for the Business Visitor Visa before you start your application.
To be eligible for a UK Business visitor visa as a South African, you must:
- Show the details of what you plan to do in the UK for business purposes
- Be able to show that you have the financial means to support yourself during your time in the UK
- Have proof that you will leave the UK at the end of your visit
- Be able to demonstrate that you can pay for your return/onward journey (if arrangements haven’t already been made)
One of the main conditions of the Business Visitor Visa is that you cannot do any paid or unpaid work in the UK under a Business Visitor Visa.
Also, you cannot receive any public funds whilst you are in the UK. This means that you will not be able to access any grants, funds or bursaries.
If you are being paid to visit the UK, you will need to apply for the Permanent Paid Engagement visa rather than the Business Visitor Visa.
What Can I Do in the UK Under a Business Visitor Visa?
You are only entitled to do certain business activities whilst living in the UK under the Business Visitor Visa.
As a Business Visitor Visa holder, you can engage in the following activities:
- Attend business appointments including conferences, seminars and meetings
- Negotiate and sign business deals or contracts
- Check international goods and services
- Attend trade affairs for promotional purposes for your business
- Conduct research and gather information for your overseas business
- Look for funding to start, join, run or take over a business in the UK
- Carry out site visits and inspections
- Liaise with UK-based customers to establish customer requirements or needs
- Perform a one-off or short series of speeches and talks
- Undertake academic research or accompany international students on a study abroad programme
- Take the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test or sit the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)
Can I Extend the Business Visitor Visa?
In most circumstances, you will not be able to stay longer than six months in the UK under a Business Visitor Visa.
However, under certain circumstances, you might be able to. For instance, if you are in the UK for academic purposes, under certain conditions, you can stay in the UK for up to twelve months with a Business Visitor Visa.
As a South Africa, if you do want to extend your visa as an academic, you must be able to meet the following conditions:
- On sabbatical leave from your home institution
- Must prove you’re highly qualified within your field of expertise
- Must prove that you will be taking part in a formal exchange with a UK counterpart, carrying out your own research or taking part in someone else’s research, teaching or clinical practice
You will need to provide biometric information (fingerprints and a photo) if you wish to stay in the UK for longer than six months.
Can South Africans Visit the UK Regularly for Short Periods?
If you need to travel from South Africa to the UK regularly for short periods of time, you could choose to apply for the long-term Standard Visitor Visa.
You can apply for a long-term Business Visitor Visa which lasts for 2, 5 or 10 years. You will be able to stay for a maximum of six months with each visit.
Business Visitor Visa Fee
The cost of the Business Visitor Visa depends on the type you apply for.
- Standard Business Visitor Visa: £95
- 12-month Business Visa as an academic: £190
- Business Visitor Visa (2 years): £361
- Business Visitor Visa (5 years): £655
- Business Visitor Visa (10 years): £822
Required Documents for UK Business Visitor Visa for South Africans
A key part of any UK visa application is the preparation and submission of a portfolio of documents, and the Business Visitor Visa is no different.
The specific documents which you will need to provide depends somewhat on your individual circumstances and the nature of your business visit.
The following information will need to be provided with all Business Visitor Visa applications:
- Passport or other travel-related document
- Travel documents which show the dates of your visit to the UK
- Details of your travel history over the previous ten years, and any immigration record
- Details of your South African employer or the company you are associated with
- Details of the business activities which you will be doing in the UK
- Details of where you will be staying in the UK
- An estimate of the cost of your trip and proof that you have the financial means to support yourself and any dependents during your time in the UK
What is the Processing Time for a Business Visitor Visa?
The standard processing time for a Business Visitor Visa is three weeks from the date the Home Office receives the application. However, the UK Home Office does state that it can take up to twelve weeks for an application to be processed.
If there are any problems with your application this will, of course increase the processing time. For instance, if you have an insufficient portfolio of evidence, UK immigration officials might request additional documentation, which will delay the processing time.
This is why it’s important to make sure your application meets all necessary standards before submitting it. Our UK immigration lawyers can help you to prepare your portfolio of evidence, ensuring that it contains all relevant documentation. We can help you to secure your Business Visitor Visa with our application package.
To find out more, please call us now on 0333 305 3612.
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You can apply to extend the Business Visitor Visa if your time in the UK has not exceeded six months under your current visa. For instance, if your visa expires after four months, you can apply for an extension for a further two months.
If you are visiting the UK as an academic, you could be eligible to stay in the UK for up to 12 months on the Business Visitor Visa.
There are other options if your intention is to visit the UK regularly for short periods over a certain course of time. You can apply for a long-term Business Visitor Visa lasting 2 years, 5 years or 10 years. On each visit to the UK, you must not spend more than six months in the country.
If you want to start a business in the UK, you should not apply for a Business Visitor Visa. Instead, you should apply for one of the visas within the Tier 1 category.
The visas are:
- Tier 1 Investor Visa. If you have at least £2,000,000 to invest in the UK, you could be eligible for the Investor Visa. This is a UK immigration permission with particularly favourable immigration conditions
- Tier 1 Innovator Visa. If you are an entrepreneur with some experience and have at least £50,000 to invest, you could be eligible for the Innovator Visa. Your business idea must have been endorsed by an approving body
- Tier 1 Start up Visa. If you are an entrepreneur with less than a year of experience, the Start Up Visa could be a good option for you. Your business idea must have been endorsed by an approving body. You do not need to have a minimum amount of money to invest with the Start-up Visa
If you are being paid to visit the UK as an expert in your field, you should apply for the Permitted Paid Engagement Visa rather than the Business Visitor Visa.
It can be a difficult and arduous task to complete a Business Visitor Visa application. Our UK immigration lawyers and attorneys can provide expert assistance with the Business Visitor Visa application process with our application package.
We will work with you to prepare your portfolio of evidence, which is a crucial part of the application process. We will also complete your application form/s and submit your full application to the Home Office.
With our expertise, you will maximise your chances of securing your Business Visitor Visa to begin your business ventures in the UK.
With many years of experience in the complex field of UK immigration law, we understand what it takes to formulate a successful application.
Call us now on 0333 305 3612 to find out more about our application package.